|What appliances and equipment qualify for a tax credit?
The lists of specific qualifying appliances and equipment, applications forms and instructions are on our Web site at: www.Oregon.gov/ENERGY/CONS/RES/RETC.shtml
|Tax credits are available for:
| Clothes Washers
| Fuel Cells
|Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC)
| Air Conditioning Systems
| Combo Water and Space Heating Systems
| Ground-source Heat Pumps
| Heat Pump/Air Conditioning Testing
| Heat Pump Systems
| Heat Recovery and Energy Recovery Systems
| Waste Water Heat Recovery
| Solar Space Heating
| Solar Water Heating
| Alternative Fuel Vehicles
| Hybrid Vehicles
| Combo Space and Water Heating Systems
| Solar Water Heating
| Water Heaters
| Wastewater Heat Recovery
| Wind Systems
I heard that air conditioners are eligible for a Residential Energy Tax Credit. How efficient do they have to be?
Very efficient central, split-system air conditioning systems now qualify for the tax credit. Models with an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 13 or higher qualify. The tax credit for these central air conditioning systems is the amount listed on the Department of Energy qualifying equipment list or 25 percent of the net purchase price, whichever is less. Window air conditioners do not qualify. More information is on the Web site: http://Oregon.gov/ENERGY/CONS/RES/tax/HVAC.htm
How come more refrigerators don´t qualify for a Residential Energy Tax Credit?
The Oregon Department of Energy sets its standards for qualifying appliances higher than federal standards. New federal standards were issued for refrigerators January 2004 that increased efficiency. Oregon´s standard for refrigerators is set to exceed these new federal standards. Qualifying refrigerators can be found on our Web site at: www.Oregon.gov/ENERGY/CONS/RES/tax/appref.shtml
Do freezers qualify for tax credits?
No. Two manufacturers provide most of the brands of freezers available in North America. They only manufacture freezers that meet or barely exceed the federal minimum requirements. Oregon´s tax credit standards must exceed the federal standard by a significant amount. Therefore, no freezers currently qualify for a tax credit.
Is it true that you give tax credits for heat pumps and furnaces?
Premium efficient heat pumps, furnaces and boilers qualify for the Residential Energy Tax Credit if they were installed on or after October 8, 2001. For additional information on qualifying equipment, refer to the Web site: www.Oregon.gov/ENERGY/CONS/RES/tax/HVAC.shtml
I bought a dishwasher that´s not on your list. I want to know if it qualifies.
The Department of Energy updates its lists whenever a manufacturer makes a new model that meets Oregon´s standards. At times, however, a manufacturer does not notify us until a new model appears in the store. Oregon standards exceed federal standards by a minimum amount. If a dishwasher is not on the list, it probably does not qualify. Please note that Energy Star® products may not necessarily qualify for an Oregon tax credit. Energy Star® is a federal program and is not associated with the Oregon´s tax credit program.
Do you give tax credits for clothes dryers and stoves?
No. The energy use of clothes dryers is determined to a great extent by how efficient the spin cycle is on your clothes washer in getting excess water out of the clothing. The less water in the clothes, the more efficient the dryer can be. Therefore, we give tax credits for energy efficient clothes washers, but not dryers.
The efficiency of a stove depends upon how a cook uses the stove. We cannot offer tax credits if we don´t have reliable data on the amount of energy use of the appliance.
I bought a qualifying clothes washer in 2005 and didn´t know about the tax credit. Can I apply for one now?
Yes, but you will have to claim it on your 2005 tax return and amend your filed return for that year.
Applications for tax credits must be received by the Oregon Department of Energy no later than April 1 of the year following the purchase. Once you have the tax credit certification, you can carry it forward for five years if your credit exceeds your liability. For additional information, consult the Oregon Department of Revenue Web site at www.dor.state.or.us/InfoC/101-641.html
I want to get one of those new efficient clothes washers, but I don´t know what to look for. Can you help?
Most high efficiency models are "front-loading" clothes washers. Instead of loading your clothes into the top of the machine, these new machines load from the front of the machine. They are called "horizontal axis" washers.
Front-loading machines have been used in Europe for many years. They use about half the water for each load of wash by using tumble action instead of having an agitator to lift clothes in and out of a pool of water. The drum fills only part way, but clothes are fully immersed every time they spin. And, because less water is used, you need less detergent and less energy for heating the water. Because spin speeds are typically higher, it takes less time to dry the clothes.
The most efficient washers are initially more expensive, but in addition to saving you money when you use it, they do qualify for an Oregon tax credit. There are a few specially designed top-loading models that also qualify for a tax credit. Please refer to our Web site at: www.Oregon.gov/ENERGY/CONS/RES/tax/appliance.shtml
Do I need an Oregon Department of Energy certified technician to install my new furnace in order to qualify for the tax credit?
Premium efficiency condensing furnaces and boilers that qualify for an Oregon tax credit do not need to be installed by a tax credit-certified technician.
Qualifying heat pumps and air conditioners do need to be installed by a tax credit-certified diagnostic technician. We certify technicians who have had training and testing in following prescribed protocols. This is to ensure that the maximum energy efficiency is obtained in equipment with refrigeration (heat pumps and air conditioners). Please refer to the list of companies with certified contractors on our Web site at: www.Oregon.gov/ENERGY/CONS/RES/tax/docs/diag.PDF
Do insulation and windows qualify for a tax credit?
There are currently no tax credits available for insulation or window replacements because they are not included in the tax credit legislation.
Insulation and windows are considered weatherization. Some electric and natural gas utility companies oversee weatherization programs and often have rebates and other promotions that cover insulation and windows. Contact your utility company concerning their weatherization program. If you heat with electricity and are located in the PGE or Pacific Power service areas, contact The Energy Trust at 1-866-368-7878 regarding weatherization services.
The Oregon Department of Energy directs the State Home Oil Weatherization (SHOW) program for residents who heat with oil, propane or wood. The SHOW program offers a free energy audit checklist for residents who call 1-800-452-8660. The SHOW program currently has special rebates available for residents of oil, propane or wood-heated homes who install energy efficient replacement windows and insulation if recommended by the SHOW auditor. For more information, visit our Web site at: www.Oregon.gov/ENERGY/CONS/RES/weather/weahome.shtml
How do I get your tax credit for alternative fuels?
For individuals, the Residential Tax Credit provides tax credit incentives of up to $1,500 to encourage Oregonians to purchase alternative fuel vehicles. A $750 credit is available against the increased cost of the alternative fuel drive system and another $750 credit is available for the increased costs of alternative fuel charging or fueling systems.
For businesses, the Business Energy Tax Credit provides an incentive of 35 percent of the incremental cost of a hybrid-electric or other dual fuel vehicles. The incremental cost is determined to be the difference in cost between a conventional fuel vehicle, of the same class and size, and the cost of the electric hybrid or dual fuel vehicle.
For additional information, application forms and instructions, visit our Web site at: www.Oregon.gov/ENERGY/TRANS/hybridcr.shtml
Should I convert my electric hot water heater to gas?
Whether you choose a gas or electric water heater varies from person to person depending on circumstances. Natural gas is not available in many rural areas, communities, and neighborhoods. If you don’t have gas lines running to your home now but there are some close by, you will have to factor in the added cost of running a gas line to and into your house. If you have a gas furnace, you may want to go with gas.
In the past, it has been somewhat cheaper to heat with natural gas in most areas where it is available. This may or may not continue to be the case, especially if more gas-fired power plants are built to produce electricity. You can compare the costs by multiplying your current electric rate (cents/kilowatt hour) times 3700 kilowatt hours, and multiplying your current rate for natural gas (cents/therm) times 215 therms, representing the average usage for a family of four.
What is an on-demand water heater? What is a tankless water heater?
On-demand and tankless water heaters, also known as instantaneous or point-of-use water heaters, only heat water as it is needed. Water is not heated and stored in a storage tank like conventional water heaters. Some units are very efficient, with an Energy Factor of .70 to .80 or greater depending on whether they use a pilot light or electronic ignition. That represents approximately 20 to 30 percent savings compared to a conventional gas water heater. They are also compact. Tankless water heaters last longer and don’t run out of hot water. However, because some smaller models can heat only 2.5 to 3 gallons per minute, such models may not be able to meet a heavy load such as a shower and clothes washer at the same time. While they are highly efficient, tankless water heaters are also considerably more expensive.
I´m building a new home and want to make it solar. Does solar work in Oregon? Is it expensive?
Western Oregon receives as much or more solar energy on an annual basis as the national average. Eastern Oregon receives as much annual solar energy as Florida. Even under cloudy skies, solar electric panels deliver some energy.
A 1,000 watt solar electric system in Oregon provides about one-quarter of the energy needed to run an energy efficient home, not including space heating. A typical solar water heating system cuts annual water heating bills in half virtually anywhere in Oregon.
Costs depend on the type of system you are installing. Solar energy is generally more expensive than conventional energy (fossil fuels, large hydro, nuclear, etc.). The following are VERY rough system costs:
Solar Electric System $5,000 - $20,000
The Oregon Department of Energy offers state tax credits for residents who invest in solar energy. For more information, visit our Web site: http://Oregon.gov/ENERGY/RENEW/Solar/Support.shtml
Solar Water Heater $2,000 - $4,000
Solar Pool Heater $1,000 - $3,000
Solar Space Heating $1,000 - $10,000
Other Renewable Energy Resources
How do I know if I have enough wind on my property to put up a wind turbine?
We have information for our Web site on generating electricity with wind power. Please refer to: http://Oregon.gov/ENERGY/RENEW /Wind/windinfo.shtml
You may also refer to the following Bonneville Power Administration Press Release for information: www.bpa.gov/Corporate/KCC/nr/01nr/nr092001A.shtml
Where can I get fuel cells?
Fuel cells are not yet available for the residential market, but should be soon.
Fuel cells work like batteries, but run on fuel. They take hydrogen from the fuel and combine it with oxygen, making an electric current in the process. The hydrogen sources for most fuel cells in operation today are fossil fuels, such as natural gas or methanol. However, fuel cells can also run on renewable fuel. Because they don´t burn the fuel and are super-efficient, the only by-products are water, heat and a little CO2.
You can use fuel cells to make electricity and heat your home and water. You may also receive a Residential Energy Tax Credit of 60 cents per estimated kWh saved during the first year, up to $1,500. The fuel cell system must have a minimum rated stack capacity of 0.5 kilowatts and a maximum rated system capacity of 10 kilowatts.
More information can be found on our Web site at: http://Oregon.gov/ENERGY/CONS/res/tax/fuelcell.shtml
Where can I sell my biodiesel?
Biodiesel is manufactured from most vegetable oils, animal fats, and recycled greases. According to the U.S. Department of Energy´s National Biofuels Program, the United States produced about 5 million gallons of biodiesel in 2000, but U.S. capacity is nearly 50 million gallons per year and growing. There is a growing interest in using biodiesel where workers are exposed to diesel exhaust, in aircraft to control local pollution near airports, and in trains that face restricted use unless emissions can be reduced.
U.S. producers primarily use recycled cooking oils and soy oil to make biodiesel. The process to make biodiesel uses a variety of materials that require registration and special handling. It is a hazardous process.
Entrepreneurs who are interested in producing and selling biodiesel can attend Clean Cities Coalition meetings for Rogue Valley and Columbia Willamette (formerly Portland). Clean Cities is a U.S. Department of Energy initiative that encourages local public and private investments that create a market for alternative fuels. More information is available on the Web site: http://www.eere.energy.gov/cleancities/
More information on biodiesel can be found on the Web site: www.eere.energy.gov/biomass
|Odds and Ends
What can I do to reduce my energy bills?
There are numerous things we can do in our everyday lives to reduce the amount of energy we use, and subsequently, our energy bills. The Oregon Department of Energy has tips for the home & office on its Web site: http://Oregon.gov/ENERGY/CONS/etips.shtml
In addition, call your utility company if you heat with electricity or natural gas. They will do a free energy analysis of your home upon request and will report what you can do to reduce your energy usage. If your utility is Portland General Electric (PGE) or Pacific Power, you should call the Energy Trust at 1-866-368-7878.
Oregonians who heat with oil, propane or wood can call the SHOW program at 1-800-452-8660 for a free energy audit. For more information, visit our Web site at: http://Oregon.gov/ENERGY/CONS/RES/weather/weahome.shtml
Why are my rates so high?
Many utility companies increased their rates to consumers October 1, 2001. The short answer is that supply and demand affect price. Electricity and natural gas prices are up because:
For more information on rates, please refer to the Public Utilities Commission, the state agency that must approve utility rate increases. Their Web site is at
The supply of energy has been down due to the drought and other causes
The demand for energy has increased due to population growth, technology growth and other causes
http://Oregon.gov/PUC Look under Press Release for:
Date -- September 25, 2001 (2001 - 034)
Natural Gas Price Adjustments Okayed by Commission
Date -- September 7, 2001 (2001 - 032)
Commission Approves PacifiCorp Rate Hike
Date -- August 31, 2001 (2001 - 031)
Commission Approves Rate Hike for Portland General Electric
Do you have someone who could come to speak to my neighborhood association about how to lower my bills and energy conservation?
Yes, we do. Contact Diana Enright at (503) 378-8278 or toll-free at 1-800-221-8035 with possible dates, times, group size and subject matter. We also have some information about our speakers bureau on our Web site at: http://Oregon.gov/ENERGY/OFFICE/speak.shtml
Where can I get funding or grants to help develop my new energy-saving device?
The Oregon Department of Energy supports implementation of technologies or practices that result in energy efficiency, waste reduction, alternative transportation fuels, clean new energy resources and safe cleanup of nuclear waste. The Oregon Department of Energy does not directly endorse new technologies or specific products. Our role is to help Oregon consumers determine if the site-specific application of technologies or products will reliably provide facility energy savings, waste reduction, clean new energy resources, or safe and efficient cleanup of nuclear waste. The Department of Energy does not provide research assistance, demonstration host research, third party evaluation, product endorsement, or venture capital. For more information and resources, please see our Web site at: http://Oregon.gov/ENERGY/CONS/BUS/invent.shtml
Can my home be used for a demonstration by the Department of Energy of energy-saving technology?
No. The Department of Energy does not do demonstration research. For more information and resources, please see our Web site at: http://Oregon.gov/ENERGY/CONS/BUS/invent.shtml